Melissa George: I was warned The Mosquito Coast would be ‘one of the hardest jobs’
Melissa George has said she was warned The Mosquito Coast would be “one of the hardest jobs” due to the “physical and mental” toll of filming.
The 46-year-old Australian actress, known for Grey’s Anatomy and The Good Wife, is starring in the TV thriller series as female lead Margot, in what she calls a Swiss Family Robinson-style tale “blown out of all proportion”.
In the Apple TV+ series, she plays the wife of radical idealist and inventor Allie Fox, played by Justin Theroux, who uproots his family to Mexico when they suddenly find themselves on the run from the US government.
You do an eight-page dialogue scene and he's doing 20 takes just because he wants to see how far you can go
The second season ends on Friday and sees the Foxes reunite to “determine the family’s future when an unexpected crisis threatens to end their journey once and for all”.
George said: “What I loved about the part is when I originally signed on for the casting, Rupert Wyatt, who directed the first two episodes, he said to me, ‘This will be one of the hardest jobs physically and also mentally, it’s, going to be difficult, are you ready to do it?’ And I said, ‘Yes, of course’.
“But then you don’t get all the scripts at once, you just get the first one or two.”
She added that Metin Huseyin “pushed” her “the hardest out of any” of the directors during the series.
“It was like, you do an eight-page dialogue scene and he’s doing 20 takes just because he wants to see how far you can go,” George said.
She added that the second series sees the “incredibly complex” Margot “sort of spiral into a pit of despair” and “start to unravel”.
“What I loved was that she was obviously from a very well-to-do family, she was an English professor, speaks languages and then she meets Allie.”
She also said she understands Margot as she also lives in a “foreign country” – France – where she raises her two children.
George added: “There’s a lot of that maternal kind of instinct and the ability to survive, when all the odds are against you, which they have been, and and how you get through that on a daily basis.
“So the two lives – playing Margot and going back to France for my kids... To me, the parallel… helped both sides and so, therefore, there was a lot in me that was ready to express on the screen.”
Theroux’s uncle Paul Theroux, the father of documentary maker Louis Theroux, wrote the 1981 novel the thriller is based on.
Theroux’s adventure story examining American society was published to global acclaim.
George said: “I know the way it happened was quite organic for Justin, it’s not because of his family did he get the part. He got the part because he’s right for it and that’s what’s fascinating about it.
“So there was a lot of insight, you know, because obviously, my character in the book was very different to what we showed on the series and so, therefore, I had a new slate, I could do whatever I wanted, I had full freedom to kind of create this part from scratch.”
George said she has never watched the 1986 big-screen version of the story, which stars Harrison Ford as Allie and Helen Mirren as Margot.
She added: “How can you compete with the amazing Helen Mirren? That’s just not possible so I don’t even begin to start and get intimidated, it just doesn’t work.”
George hopes there is a third season, adding: “That’s kind of what you’re working towards, really, you often feel like a story’s unfinished and an unfinished story is just sad, so I feel like there’s more left.”
The Mosquito Coast is a Fremantle Production for Apple TV+. The second season will be available from January 6.